The Discovery Institute released a study today revealing that the key section of the widely noted Kitzmiller v. Dover court decision on intelligent design issued a year ago on December 20 was copied nearly verbatim from a document written by ACLU lawyers.
From the Discovery Institute Press Release:
"Judge John Jones copied verbatim or virtually verbatim 90.9% of his 6,004-word section on whether intelligent design is science from the ACLU's proposed 'Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law' submitted to him nearly a month before his ruling," said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.
"Ironically, Judge Jones has been hailed as 'an outstanding thinker' for his 'masterful' ruling, and even honored by Time magazine as one of the world's 'most influential people' in the category of 'scientists and thinkers,'" said West. "But Jones' analysis of the scientific status of intelligent design contains virtually nothing written by Jones himself. This finding seriously undercuts the credibility of a central part of the ruling."
The study notes that, while judges routinely make use of proposed findings of fact, "the extent to which Judge Jones simply copied the language submitted to him by the ACLU is stunning. For all practical purposes, Jones allowed ACLU attorneys to write nearly the entire section of his opinion analyzing whether intelligent design is science. As a result, this central part of Judge Jones' ruling reflected essentially no original deliberative activity or independent examination of the record on Jones' part."
Jones' copying was so uncritical that he even reprinted a number of factual errors originally made by ACLU attorneys.
For example, Jones claimed that biochemist Michael Behe, when asked about articles purporting to explain the evolution of the immune system, responded that the articles were "not 'good enough.'" Behe actually said the exact opposite: "it's not that they aren't good enough. It's simply that they are addressed to a different subject." Jones' misrepresentation of Behe came directly from the ACLU's "Findings of Fact."
What is even more amazing is that Judge Jones has been stumping around the country elaborating on the importance and brilliance of “his” decision as evidenced by his recent speaking schedule to college students and professional societies detailed below. Here is just one quote from his commencement speech at his alma mater, Dickerson College (link to full text of his speech is below):
“Not long ago, I decided a case that caused me to become, at least temporarily, somewhat famous in the world at large. And while I have accomplished some interesting things in my life, I know that my invitation to speak to you today is largely the result of my work in that trial involving the concept of intelligent design. In the course of the Kitzmiller v. Dover case I heard from experts in among other fields those of biology, philosophy, theology, paleontology, and science education. And, I had to use my common sense and hopefully good judgment to weigh the credibility of many lay witnesses as well.”
“One might be tempted to assume that I received all of the tools necessary to understand the complex expert testimony and determine the facts solely through my law school education. If so, they would be incorrect. In fact, it was my liberal arts education, achieved right here at Dickinson College that provided me with the best ability to handle the rather monumental task of deciding the Dover case.”
The only tools Judge Jones apparently used in the Dover case were the “Cut & Paste” features of Microsoft Word. And yet for this he was introduced by the President of Bennington College at his most recent lecture with the following accolades:
"Judge Jones is that increasingly rare phenomenon--a genuine hero of our time—principled, enlightened, and profoundly courageous—reminding us all of the individual acts of leadership that have made this nation soar. It is a great pleasure and honor for this College to have him as our guest," remarked Elizabeth Coleman, president of Bennington College.
Recent Speeches by Judge John Jones:
February 10, 2006:
National Executive Committee Meeting
Palm Beach, Florida
Full speech: http://www.adl.org/Civil_Rights/speech_judge_jones.asp
March 9, 2006:
More info: http://www.lycoming.edu/whatsnew/releases/2006/JudgeJones.htm
April 25, 2006:
"On the Constitution's Establishment Clause"
Lutheran Theological Seminary
More info: http://www.ltsg.edu/events/springconvo.htm
May 19-21, 2006:
2006 Commencement Lecture
Full text: http://www.dickinson.edu/commencement/2006/address.html
October 23, 2006:
"Judicial Independence- A Trial Judge's Reflections After Kitzmiller v.
Geological Society of America (GSA)
More info: http://www.geosociety.org/GSA_Connection/archive/0610.htm
October 25, 2006:
Widener University School of Law
*This lecture was broadcast on 10/28 on C-SPAN's "America & the Courts"
More info: http://www.law.widener.edu/news/articles/2006/hb_100306.shtml
November 27, 2006:
Ruth D. Ewing '37 Lecture in Social Activism More info: http://www.bennington.edu/news_pr_061017jones.asp
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